School test (copy) (copy)

The Madison School District improved its score on the 2018-19 state report cards, released Tuesday by the state Department of Public Instruction.

The Madison Metropolitan School District improved its state report card score for the 2018-19 school year, but remained in the “meets expectations” category.

More of its schools also received higher grades on this year’s report cards, released Tuesday morning by the state Department of Public Instruction, compared to 2017-18.

The report cards measure districts and schools in four areas: student achievement, district growth, closing gaps and on-track and postsecondary readiness.

Based on the scores in those categories, a district or school receives a weighted average overall score that falls into one of five categories: fails to meet expectations, meets few expectations, meets expectations, exceeds expectations and significantly exceeds expectations.

MMSD received a 72.3, just below the maximum for the middle category of 72.9. The district performed best relative to the state average in the district growth category, receiving a 75.5 compared to the state average of 66. It was also almost exactly average in closing gaps, receiving a 68, with the state average at 68.8.

It was below the state average in both of the other categories, with a 59.5 to the state average of 62.3 in closing gaps and a 80.5 compared to the 84.8 average in on-track and postsecondary readiness.

All but the last of those were improvements from 2017-18, and that score held nearly constant.

The district’s improvement was the result of more of its schools receiving higher overall scores in this year. Nine MMSD schools significantly exceeded expectations, up from six in 2017-18. Nineteen exceeded expectations — the same number as last year. Thirteen schools met expectations, one fewer than last year, and four schools met few expectations, down from seven.

No MMSD schools failed to meet expectations.

The nine schools that significantly exceeded expectations, a grade that requires a cumulative score of at least 83, were Glendale Elementary, Lincoln Elementary, Lowell Elementary, Nuestro Mundo, Olson Elementary, Randall Elementary, Shorewood Hills Elementary, Van Hise Elementary and West High.

Three of the four schools in the meets few expectations category were within two points of the meets expectations category, which requires a minimum of a 63 cumulative score: Mendota Elementary (62.2), Lake View Elementary (61.9) and Whitehorse Middle (61.7). Allis Elementary received a 55.5, the district’s lowest overall score.

Seven schools were in the “Alternate Rating” system, which is used for schools without Forward Exam data — all of the K-2 partner schools — or alternative high school options like Shabazz. Six of them had “satisfactory progress” while one, Lapham Elementary, received a “needs improvement” rating.

The report cards note four MMSD schools with “outlier change,” denoting at least a 10-point change from one year to the next “which may not reflect the actual magnitude of changes in performance.” Cherokee Middle went from a 64.2 to a 78, Sandburg Elementary from a 62.2 to 72.2, La Follette High from a 56 to a 68.1 and East High from a 62.5 to 73.1.

Statewide, 40 districts significantly exceeded expectations, 198 exceeded expectations, 163 met expectations, 17 met few expectations and one failed to meet expectations. A DPI news release pointed out the continued gap between schools with higher percentages of students of low socioeconomic status and their peers that have fewer students considered economically disadvantaged.

“By law, the more students who are economically disadvantaged in a school or district, the more weight is given to the growth score,” the release states. “In spite of this effort to account for the challenges of poverty, schools and districts with lower accountability ratings on average have higher poverty levels than those with higher accountability ratings.”

Sign up for Cap Times newsletters:

Newsletters:

Share your opinion on this topic by sending a letter to the editor to tctvoice@madison.com. Include your full name, hometown and phone number. Your name and town will be published. The phone number is for verification purposes only. Please keep your letter to 250 words or less.

Scott Girard is the local k-12 education reporter at the Cap Times. A Madison native, he joined the paper in 2019 after working for six years for Unified Newspaper Group. Follow him on Twitter @sgirard9.